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Sheriff’s Office warns of scam

By: Alex Szwarc | C&G Newspapers | Published February 14, 2020


MACOMB COUNTY — The Macomb County Sheriff’s Office is asking that anyone who receives a suspicious communication claiming to be from the Sheriff’s Office stop by and speak with someone in person at the Sheriff’s Office following a couple of scams.

In the first week of February, the Sheriff’s Office took two reports in which people were scammed out of thousands of dollars.

“Both citizens reported that they received telephone calls from an individual claiming to work for the Macomb County Sheriff’s Office,” a Sheriff’s Office news release states. “The caller told the citizen that they were in some type of trouble and that they needed to purchase gift cards to avoid being arrested.”

The first report came Feb. 4, when a 63-year-old man from Harrison Township reported that he had received a call from a man stating he was “Sgt. Bailey from the Macomb County Sheriff’s Office.”

The caller reportedly stated that the man had failed to have his DNA filed for the sex offender registry and would need to send money to avoid arrest.

The caller added that the money would need to be sent from a kiosk at a local business. When the man could not find the kiosk, the caller stated that he could pay with gift cards for a discounted rate.

Police said the man purchased $3,500 worth of gift cards and provided the gift card numbers to the caller.

The second case came on Feb. 7, when a 33-year-old Macomb Township man received a call from a man who claimed he was calling from the Macomb County Sheriff’s Office.

The telephone number displayed the Sheriff’s Office general phone number: (586) 469-5151.

“The caller was also able to ghost our Sheriff’s Office telephone number, meaning that the phone number displayed as a Sheriff’s Office phone number,” the release states. “Be advised that this is a hack and the caller is not inside the Sheriff’s Office.”

In this case, the caller said the man needed to pay $3,000 immediately or he would be arrested. Much like the first case, the caller stated that this amount could be paid in gift cards. The man purchased $3,000 in gift cards and provided the gift card numbers to the caller.

“As deputies were on scene taking the information, this male continued to call the home in an attempt to gain more money,” the release reads.

The Sheriff’s Office will not call any member of the public and ask for money or gift cards in lieu of arrest. Rather, if an arrest warrant is issued for a resident and the resident wishes to post a bond, they would need to post that bond at the bond office located within the Sheriff’s Office, at 43565 Elizabeth Road in Mount Clemens. Bonds may also be posted at a courthouse. The bond office can verify any warrants that a person has when they appear in person with a valid ID.

“If you receive a suspicious telephone call from someone you are unfamiliar with, please do your research before providing anyone with your personal information, especially monetary information,” the release states.

The Sheriff’s Office advises people to be aware that government agencies do not accept retail gift cards as a form of payment.

The incidents have been turned over to the Macomb County Sheriff’s Office’s Detective Bureau and are currently being investigated.